Disney has been drenched in controversy since it was founded in 1923. Rumours that Walt Disney was an anti-Semite stemmed from his Three Little Pigs animation, which originally depicted the wolf as a Jewish salesman.
However, shortly after its release, they reanimated this scene altogether. Of course, 1933 (which is when the movie was released) was a very long time ago and this scene, like many others, went under the radar despite its discriminatory undertones.
Furthermore, some blame Walt Disney’s bad reputation on his association with the Motion Picture Alliance (a questionable conservative alliance formed by some of the biggest names in Hollywood). Despite potentially not being an anti-Semite himself, his relationship with those who were further fuels that description of him.
What’s more, his granddaughter, Abigail Disney, criticized the recent autobiographical movie about Walt Disney (Saving Mr Banks) for ignoring his darker side. She openly stated that he was indeed misogynistic and xenophobic, but also a man of his times and someone who brought joy to many.
Nowadays, Disney’s company gets in trouble for all sorts of things, not least because of their frequent attempts to covertly add in the odd inappropriate joke here and there. Of course, if it wasn’t for their movies’ underlying adult humour, there’s no way us oldies would enjoy them as much as we do.
However, it’s time to smash your innocence to pieces with the 17 Weird Jokes You Completely Missed In Disney Movies.
17 FROZEN – “FOOT SIZE DOESN’T MATTER”
Frozen is the first solely Disney animated feature to be directed by a female director. If you consider that the first ever Disney movie was released in the late '30s, then this was a long time coming.
Frozen also became the highest grossing animated movie ever (it even managed to surpass Toy Story 3 in the rankings) and was the first fully Disney film to win a Golden Globes for Best Animated Feature.
No matter how annoying the songs from Frozen have become, a lot of its overwhelming success derives from the parents loving it as much as their children do. Some of its humour will also only resonate with those of us with a few years under our belts.
So, when Kristoff asks Anna about her fiancé’s foot size and she responds, “foot size doesn’t matter,” after a few watches, it’s evident that they could be talking about another body part.
16 THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE – KRONK PITCHES A TENT
Released in 2000, The Emperor’s New Groove tells the story of a narcissistic emperor, Kuzco, who has trouble maintaining his place on the throne.
Yzma (the antagonist who wishes to take over Kuzco’s rule) ends up turning him into a llama after an unsuccessful attempt at killing him. In one scene, Yzma and her slow-witted sidekick, Kronk, need to set up camp for the night, but what makes this scene subliminally funny is Kronk literally pitching a tent over his crotch area.
The term "pitch a tent" is slang for something else entirely, so we very much doubt that the creators of the movie didn’t know what they were doing when they added in this inside joke.
Of course, only viewers who are familiar with the saying will have picked this up, and even then, it would be easy to miss.
15 CARS - TOP DOWN TRUCKSTOP
While watching Cars, you may have noticed a sign (shown in the background) containing the words ‘Top Down Truckstop – All Convertible Waitresses." Mack and Lightning never actually enter the truck stop, as Lightning is anxious to get to California.
Nonetheless, by merely looking at the sign, it’s obvious that the truck stop is in fact an automobile strip bar and that "All Convertible Waitresses" is just car lingo for "All Shirtless Waitresses."
There is also a deleted scene where Mack and Lightening end up visiting the truck stop and the number of male cars in comparison to the female car waitresses only confirms this notion.
Had this scene made the final cut, we highly doubt that many kids would have picked up on this anyway, however, the parents would have likely had a few things to say about it.
14 HERCULES – HERMES MAKES A QUESTIONABLE REMARK
Disney’s Hercules has its fair share of innuendos but one that could easily go unnoticed involves Hermes complimenting Zeus’ party.
Zeus and his wife Hera are celebrating the birth of their new-born child, Hercules when Hermes shows up with a bunch of flowers. When he greets Zeus, he proclaims: “Fabulous party. You know, I haven’t seen this much love in a room since Narcissus discovered himself.” At this point, we are shown Narcissus holding up a mirror and kissing his own reflection.
Although this could be an innocent remark on Narcissus’s self-obsession, adults might see another meaning behind Hermes’ words.
As it stands, Hercules is a movie that contains both kid and adult humour alike. Some parents will find it offensive, while others will just find it funny.
13 HOCUS POCUS – THE CREEPY BUS DRIVER
Hocus Pocus became a classic amongst kids growing up in the '90s. When it was first released in 1993, it was unlike any other children’s movie out there. This is mostly down to the boisterous female villains, who have no qualms speaking the truth.
Lady villains in children’s movies tended to be quite dull, while the three witches in Hocus Pocus are strangely likeable and far from boring.
The movie possesses a few off-the-cuff moments, but one that stands out the most involves a bus driver getting flirty with the witches. When the bus driver stops the bus to let them on, Winnifred goes on to tell him that they desire children, to which the bus driver says: “It may take me a couple of tries, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”
Evidently, the witches don’t have a clue what he’s getting at, but we do.
12 TOY STORY 2 – BUZZ LIGHTYEAR’S WINGS
Parents enjoy watching the Toy Story movies as much as their kids do. Each film is filled with witty humour and the characters are oddly just as relatable as those found in movies for adults.
The franchise also steers away from being patronising or overly protective of children as many other kid’s movies do, and instead offers some valuable insight into the trials and tribulations faced by the toys, which parallel nicely with those confronted by humans.
Although the Toy Story movies are aimed at kids, they are known for adding in adult gags now and again. In Toy Story 2, when Buzz Lightyear witnesses Jessie open the door using some amazing skateboarding moves, his wings fly upwards like… well, we’ll let you make your own assumptions on that one.
11 ALADDIN AND THE KING OF THIEVES – “THE EARTH WASN’T SUPPOSED TO MOVE UNTIL THE HONEYMOON”
After the enormous success of Disney movie Aladdin, the company decided to create two "straight to VHS" follow-up movies: Aladdin: The Return of Jaffar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves. These, of course, didn’t garner as much attention as the original movie.
Although Robin Williams did not participate in the second film (Dan Castellanata was cast to play Genie), he did come back for the third installment. Thanks to Williams’ involvement, this movie displays some of the same charm and mildly risky humour witnessed in its predecessor.
When Sa'luk stabs an elephant in the behind during Aladdin and Jasmin’s wedding, this causes the floor to shake making Genie point out: “I thought the earth wasn’t supposed to move until the honeymoon.” We all know exactly what he’s referring to.
10 ONE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMTATION – “OH PONGO, YOU OLD RASCAL!”
One Hundred and One Dalmatians was well received upon its release in 1961 (with some critics referring to it as the best Disney movie since Snow White and the Seven Dwarves), though it doesn’t quite have the same punchiness as other Disney classics.
The idea of having to take care of 101 offspring is a little troublesome on its own, even without the added horror of Cruella attempting to kidnap the dogs for fashion purposes, so it’s no wonder some of the movie’s jokes made fun of its outlandish story-line. In this way, the adults can at least get a kick out of watching the movie, as well as the kids.
Upon the birth of the 15 puppies, Roger turns to Pongo and blurts out, "Why, you old rascal!”
Clearly, Roger’s put two and two together.
9 ALADDIN – ALADDIN VISITS WORKING WOMEN
Although the sly inclusion of an adult establishment within the movie is not a joke as such, it’s definitely something only adults will take note of, and even then, amidst all the song and dancing in the movie, it would be easy to overlook this minor detail.
As Aladdin sings the song "One Jump Ahead", and in his haste to escape the Agrabah guards, he finds himself inside what appears to be an adult establishment filled with angry concubines.
The characterisation of these female characters could be deemed controversial on its own, as they appear more curvaceous but less intelligent than Jasmine, which might reflect the prejudiced notions that prevailed at the time.
Similar female characters have been created in other Disney movies, such as the three blonde triplets in Beauty and the Beast.
8 A BUG’S LIFE – “HEY CUTIE, WANNA POLLINATE WITH A REAL BUG?”
A Bug’s Life is one of the first computer-animated movies to gain such an enormous fanbase. Similar to rival movie Antz (made by Dreamworks), the plot involves an ant (Flik) who takes it upon himself to free his ant colony from a totalitarian regime.
A group of menacing grasshoppers run the regime, so Flik travels to the big city to find some warrior bugs that will help them, but unknowingly takes back circus bugs instead.
One of the circus bugs named Francis is a male ladybug who is frequently mistaken for being female. During one of Francis’s performance, a fly catcalls him: “Hey cutie, wanna pollinate with a real bug?”
As the catcaller laughs with his fly buddy, it becomes highly apparent that he isn’t just talking about depositing pollen on a plant.
7 RATATOUILLE – “TINY LITTLE”
Ratatouille is a highly acclaimed movie released in 2007. The story revolves around a rat, Remy, and his quest to become a chef. Because it’s set in Paris, it gained a huge fanbase in France upon its release and remains one of the highest grossing animated movies in the country.
Although the little ones would never catch on, there are more than a few adult moments included in the film. For example, when Alfredo Linguini attempts to explain to Colette that a rat is helping him cook, he tells her that he has a, “tiny little – little-.”
At this, Colette peers at him dubiously and upon thorough observation, us grown-ups can work out that she has clearly misinterpreted what he’s saying for something else…
6 TOY STORY 3 – “HEY, NO ONE TAKES MY WIFE’S MOUTH BUT ME!”
In case you didn’t know, the voice for Mr Potato Head was done by actor Don Rickles. Due to Don passing away last year, he sadly won’t be reprising his role for the yet to be released Toy Story 4.
Even though Jim Varney (who played Slinky) was replaced after passing away before doing the voice recording for the third movie, it is still unknown whether Mr Potato Head will be voiced by someone else for the fourth installment or scratched altogether.
As previously mentioned, the Toy Story movies are famed for taking things to the next level when it comes to their jokes. One such joke in Toy Story 3 occurs when Lotso removes Mrs Potato Head’s mouth to stop her from talking, making Mr Potato Head exclaim: “Hey, no one takes my wife’s mouth except me!”
Evidently, his choice of words could be implying something else…
5 THE BLACK CAULDRON – “YOU DON’T MIND IF I PLUCK YOUR HARP.”
The Black Cauldron is one of the least popular Disney movies of all time. If you mention the movie to children nowadays, they probably won’t have heard of it. The movie’s reception was a major disappointment for Disney, yet it still has a small following who see the The Black Cauldron as a significant part of their childhood.
Interestingly, this was the first Disney film to be rated PG so it’s no surprise that some of the themes are a little darker than earlier Disney flicks. It was also the first movie to include CGI, although it somehow still failed to "wow" its audience with its animation.
When a witch flirts with Fflewddur, a string on his enchanted harp breaks because he lies about finding her irresistible. The witch then says, “you don’t mind if I pluck your harp,” which sounds a lot like some kind of made up innuendo to us.
4 TOY STORY 3 – “NICE ASCOT”
This subtle joke could easily go unnoticed by children and adults alike, but there’s no way that Barbie is just talking about Ken’s neck tie. So, when Barbie compliments Ken with a “nice ascot,” you could easily assume that she is actually talking about his plastic derriere, especially because she unnecessarily prolongs the first syllable of the word "ascot."
With the release of Toy Story 3, Barbie and Ken quickly became the franchise’s new favourite couple, after Jessie and Buzz Lightyear, of course.
Also, if you were wondering what happened to Woody and Bo-Peep’s blossoming romance, Toy Story 4 will be bringing back the beloved character of Bo-Peep (who was noticeably absent during Toy Story 3) to focus on a love story between her and the cowboy. We're sure that more jokes will ensue.
3 RATATOUILLE – “ONE CAN GET TOO FAMILIAR WITH VEGETABLES, YOU KNOW!”
Another less obvious joke in Ratatouille involves a short dispute between Afredo and his grumpy boss Skinner, because the former is wasting time in the pantry supposedly familiarising himself with the vegetables. This provokes Skinner into angrily yelling after him: “One can get too familiar with the vegetables, you know!”
While Skinner could just be talking about the craft, you wouldn’t be wrong in seeing the obscure meaning behind his words.
Other subliminal moments for those with an immature mind include Anton Ego saying, “if I don’t love it, I don’t swallow," Remy’s disgusted face as he is being placed inside Alfredo’s pants, and what appears to be a man painting a revealing woman in the background as Remy quickly scurries past a room.
2 THE RESCUERS - THE REVEALING WOMAN
Although the use of a revealing woman in the background was a mistake (Disney claimed this wasn’t done by any of their animators and was probably placed there during post-production), someone almost certainly did this on purpose for a laugh.
When the image was first noticed in 1999, a few days after the movie was reissued on VHS, Disney had to recall 3.4 million copies to avoid being sued or having their wholesome image damaged. The first VHS copies released in 1992 did not need to be recalled as they didn’t contain the explicit image.
To this day, no one knows who added this image to the film but it seems unlikely that Disney had anything to do with it. Also, the nude lady is impossible to detect without slowing the video down first.
1 TOY STORY – SID'S STRANGE TOY
The themes explored within the Toy Story movies are pretty bleak for a children’s movie. For instance, the toy characters have no control over their destinies, as these depend entirely on the humans who own them. You might say that they resemble a less twisted version of a Black Mirror episode.
Perhaps it’s only fitting that the damaged toys, seen in the first Toy Story film, are symbolic of what can happen to people when they are mistreated or forgotten about.
If you look closely at Sid’s mutant toy creations, you will notice that one of them is made from a toy fish hook and a pair of Barbie’s legs. Some have theorised that this toy is a literal depiction of a "hooker." Whether this is true or not remains a mystery.
Can you think of any other adult jokes that most fans completely missed in Disney movies? Let us know in the comments!